VNav - What Do You Think?

Safety at sea is the first priority for all of us. As we navigate the oceans of the world, situational awareness is always foremost on our minds. On the freeway, one of the most comprehensive apps is WAZE. Not only does it verbally alert us to hazards along the roadway, but visualizes the pathway ahead. If we discover an ‘obstacle’ such as a stranded vehicle, police presence or accident, we can instantly alert all motorists in the vicinity at the touch of a button. What if we had a SeaWaze app on the bridge, with VNav voice alerts? The system would integrate a number of open-source systems that provide instant safety information, and the computer would recommend a safe course of action if there was a threat of any kind to the vessel and crew. It might look and sound something like this:

VNav Flow Chart
Oct 2018

Operation: On/Off – Speaker – Bluetooth – Both
Voice Command: Interrogate Individual Selectors
Remote Control: All Functions

Danger Zone Set Circumference – Contact Announcement – Range/bearing to contact – Closing or Opening – Emergency action
Navigation Next Aid Description – ETA – Distance to Aid – Turn Direction at Aid – Autopilot on/off – r/l of Course
AdvanceSpeed strong text in kts and mph – SOG – SOA
Destination ETA – Time to go – Distance to go – Time to Next turn – Distance to Next Turn – Distance to Next Nav Aid
Weather Air Temp – Wind Spd – Wind Dir – Barometer up, dn – 24hr Forecast
Seas Height – Period – Temp – Current Speed- Current Direction
Depth Feet – Meters – Projected Along Course at 1mi – 5mi – 10mi
Engine(s) RPM’s - Cooling Temp – Gear Temp – Exhaust Temp – Oil Press – Oil Temp – GPH
Generator Same as Engine + Voltage Output
Systems Fire System Charge – Bilge Pumps – Water – Fuel – Lube Oil – Compartment Temps – Voltages – Cargo Hold Temps
Maintenance Projected oil changes, filter Replacement, Battery Life

o Danger Zone
 Set zone in yards from 100 to 10,000 (5.6 mi)
 Voice announces closest contact “contact, port quarter, 7,000 yds, closing, 3.5 minutes to CPA”
 Voice announces any other contacts within zone by range and bearing, and whether closing or opening, selected from closest to farthest
 If contact tracks steady bearing/decreasing range, voice announces options to clear
 If in extremis, voice announces immediate action to take with 2x normal volume ‘now’, ‘now’, ‘now’

o Navigation
 Voice announces description of next nav aid “your next aid is green bell 5, 1.2 mi on your port hand”
 Voice announces time to arrive at next aid, distance to aid and direction to turn at arrival
 Voice announces “your autopilot is off (or on)”
 Voice announces “you are on course”, or, “you are right (or left) of course by 50 yards”

o Advance
 Voice announces current speed in knots or mph (as selected)
 Voice announces speed over the ground, and speed of advance

o Destination
 Voice announces estimated time of arrival
 Voice announces time to go
 Voice announces distance to go
 Voice announces time to next turn
 Voice announces distance to next turn
 Voice announces description of and time to next aid

o Weather
 Voice announces air temperature
 Voice announces wind speed and direction
 Voice announces barometer rising or falling
 Voice announces 24-hr forecast

o Seas
 Voice announces sea temperature
 Voice announces wave height and direction
 Voice announces period between crests
 Voice announces current direction and speed

o Depth
 Voice announces depth under vessel in feet and meters
 Voice announces depth projections on course at 1 mi, 5 mi, 10 mi

o Engine(s)
 Voice announces engine rpm’s
 Voice announces cooling system temperatures
 Voice announces exhaust temperatures
 Voice announces gear temperatures
 Voice announces oil temperatures
 Voice announces oil pressures
 Voice announces present GPH/engine
 Voice announces changes in set parameters over past 60 minutes

o Generator(s)
 Voice announces generator rpm’s
 Voice announces cooling temperatures
 Voice announces exhaust temperatures
 Voice announces gear temperatures
 Voice announces oil temperatures
 Voice announces oil pressures
 Voice announces present GPH
 Voice announces KW Output

o Systems
 Voice announces fire and bilge pump systems “operational and ready for use”
 Voice announces levels of water, fuel, lube oil, voltages, compartment temperatures, other

o Maintenance
 Voice announces next maintenance to be performed on engines, generators, filter changes, other

NOTE: VNav is designed to integrate with any current marine navigation system from Furuno, Garmin, Raymarine, Simrad or other manufacturers incorporating NMEA 2000 protocol. Input from a select number of proprietary databases and/or open source servers, can be integrated into VNav algorithms. The patented VNav integration technology allows informational sources to be incorporated into the unit as desired by end users. Information pertinent to commercial end-users may not be of value to either military or yachting interests. Therefore, marine information from myriad sources can be selected to meet the specific requirements of each consumer.

VNav voice commands are available in the following languages :
• Indonesian
• Czechn (Cesky)
• Danish (Dansk)
• German (Deutsch)
• Estonian (Eesti)
• English
• Spanish (Esponal)
• Tongan (Faka-Tonga)
• French (Francais)
• Samoan (Gagana Samoa)
• Italian (Italiano)
• Marshallese (Kajin Majol)
• Latvian (Latviesu)
• Hungarian (Magyar)
• Malagasy (Malagasy)
• Dutch (Netherlands)
• Norwegian (Norsk)
• Polish (Polski)
• Portuguese (Portugues)
• Romanian (Romana)
• Albanian (Shgip)
• Finnish (Suomi)
• Swedish (Svenska)
• Phillipino (Tagalog)
• Lithunian
• Vietnamese
• Bulgarian
• Mongalian
• Russian
• Ukranian
• Armenium
• Thai
• Cambodian
• Korean
• Japanese
• Mandarin
• Cantonese
• Simplified Chinese

What do you think of this concept? Perhaps it could have prevented the loss of life we witnessed aboard the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) and USS John S. McCain (DDG-56), in addition to the number of collisions at sea we’ve seen in the commercial sector. The SS El Faro disaster may have also been prevented.

If you think there is merit to this idea, please let me know, and we’ll proceed with development. If you don’t think it has a snowball’s chance, just express your thoughts.

Soooo, preload all that data prior to departing cell signal? Having an internet connection on the ship isn’t a given, and until it becomes a regulatory requirement, it’s very doubtful it will be present on all ships. Many yes, but as long as there are tightwad shipowners that don’t care about “crew comforts” it won’t be the case on all vessels.

I don’t think such a thing would be good for the engine room. I can look at a computer screen or digital display with 20 different pressures, levels & temperatures & my brain can process the information faster than a computer can read it to me. The primary & secondary alarm set points will notify me if something is wrong when I’m not looking at the screens or bank of gauges. I hear enough voices at work as it is, the less useless chatter in the ECR the better. Keep the VNav in the bridge IMO.


Dear god we do not need more nanny alarms on the bridge. Most of these things are already covered by any number of audible and visual alarms. I need a voice added to this melange of annoyance like I need a hole in my head.


What he said too ^^^.

Like TCAS on airplanes. Tells you where your traffic is and what action to take

I’d like my system to use this guy’s voice, please.


“I’m sorry Dave, I cannot do that.” Can it have a big red eye too?


That’s what Radar/ARPA, AIS, ECDIS, and my Mk1Mod0 eyeballs are for.

With the speeds involved with flight and the addition of the ability to change elevation, this makes perfect sense. Emergency system feeding you danger information when you only have seconds to act.

At sea the danger situation can unfold much slower. Say I set a CPA alarm on my radar to ping off 12 minutes from a CPA below 0.5 miles. I get a loud alarm that needs to be silenced before deciding what to do if for some reason a target gets by me. Though if I’m standing a proper watch, I’ve already been planning what to do for the past thirty minutes or so.

A voice prompt added into this mix coupled with constant VHF traffic in congested waters is going to be untenable in my opinion.